Pain Canada courses for people with pain

Pain Foundations

About Pain Foundations

Pain Foundations is an online program designed to support health care providers to improve their assessment and treatment of people living with pain. This practical, compact course allows learners to develop clinically relevant approaches to chronic pain management and develop a strong grounding in pain science to support further exploration.

Learning outcomes

The program will enhance basic knowledge of pain science, assessment, and management, emphasizing the use of compassion, collaborative communication skills, and trauma- and violence-informed practices.

After completing the entire program you will be able to:

  • Recognize pain as a complex, subjective experience that is unique to each person.
  • Describe the changes that take place in the nervous system when living with chronic pain and apply these concepts when supporting individuals.
  • Reflect on the potential stigma and marginalization experienced by people in pain, such as those based on ethnicity, gender identity, or socioeconomic status, and practice compassionate support.
  • Practice the culturally safe skills required to develop a successful therapeutic relationship with people living with pain.
  • Collaborate with patients on pain assessments.
  • Describe and apply total pain management.
  • Apply the learned skills to assess and create a pain management plan for realistic patient cases.

Why you should take this program

  • Clinically relevant:
    Non-pharmacological approaches to managing chronic pain are more important than ever. Developed in consultation with clinical experts and people living with pain, Pain Foundations will enable you to gain foundational knowledge in chronic pain and pain management and serves as a basis for more advanced learning.
  • Brought to you by Canada’s pain experts:
    Pain Foundations was developed by Pain Canada, a national and international leader in chronic pain. We offer Pain Canada Certification, a stamp of quality recognized around the world. In order to receive the certificate of completion, you will be required to answer the pre- and post-survey about this program.
  • Online, compact and self-paced:
    Learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your home or office, with minimal time from your practice, family and life.
  • Earn CME credits

Program certification

To earn a certificate of completion (Pain Foundations – Basic Certificate), participants must complete a pre-survey before starting module one and a post survey after finishing module three.

Optional advanced modules offer additional certificates upon completion.

To receive the Pain Foundations Advanced Certificate, the full program certification, participants must finish all modules (1-8), and complete a final post program survey.

Course outline

Basic modules (Five hours)

The basic modules are a prerequisite for the advanced series of modules. Each learner will receive a certificate of completion upon finishing all three basic modules.

Module 1: Introduction to Pain Foundations

1.1 The Pain Foundations Program

1.2 Defining Pain

1.3 Acute to Chronic Pain

1.4 Pain Management in Context

1.5 Practicing Cultural Humility

Module 2: Exploring Pain Beyond Body and Mind

2.1 Pain: It’s Real

2.2 Pain: Body or Mind?

2.3 Different Brains Still Feel Pain

2.4 Communicating Effectively

Module 3: Living with Pain

3.1 Compassion and the Lived Experience of Pain

3.2 Trauma and Its Connection with Pain

3.3 Pain and the Self

3.4 Pain and Relationships

3.5 Pain from a Systemic Perspective

3.6 Moving Beyond Stigma

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Advanced modules (Nine hours)

Learners must complete all three basic Pain Foundations modules before beginning any of the advanced modules. Each of the advanced modules may be taken independent of one another and learners will receive a separate certificate for each one they choose to complete.

Module 4: Pain Physiology - (Two hours approx.)

4.1 Pain Classification

4.2 Altered Pain Perception

4.3 The Role of the Nervous System

4.4 Pain Modulation and Sensitization

4.5 The Brain and Pain

4.6 Changes in Body Functioning

Module 5: Biopsychosocial Pain Assessment in Clinical Settings - (One hour and 20 min approx.)

5.1 Biopsychosocial Approach to Pain Assessment

5.2 Pain Assessment - The OPQRSTUV Tool

5.3 Unidimensional and Multidimensional Pain Assessment Tools

5.4 Specialized Assessment Tools

Module 6: Collaborative Pain Care - (Two hours approx.)

6.1 Treating Pain That is Chronic

6.2 Readiness to Change

6.3 Stages of Change

6.4 Pharmacological Treatment Options

6.5 Complementary and Alternative Pharmacological Options

6.6 Medical Interventions

Module 7: Pain Self-Management - (One hour and 40 min approx.)

7.1 Overview of Supported Self-Management of Chronic Pain

7.2 Pain Education

7.3 General Supported Self-Management Strategies

7.4 Gentle Movement, Healthy Eating, and Sleep

7.5 Self-Care

Module 8: Capstone  - (One hour and 30 min approx.)

This module explores case studies through three different perspectives: psychosocial professionals, manual therapist professionals, and medical professionals. Please note that this module is only available for health care providers who have completed Pain Foundations modules 1-7.

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Course details:
Cost: FREE
Format: Online
Duration: Approx. 15 hours (full program), self-paced
Have a question about a Pain Canada course?

“A fabulous course for all levels and interest. It covers a very broad spectrum with the latest guidelines in chronic pain management. Well worth doing."

Pain Foundations course graduate


Contributors and reviewers (Pain Foundations – 1st version): Terri Aldred, MD; Terri Betts, BSc (Pharm), ACPR; Wesley Buch, PhD R.Psych; Donna Buna, BSc Pharm, PharmC; Michael Butterfield, MD; May Caprio, PhD, R.Psych; Sarah Derman, RN; Ada Glustein, MA (Ed); Bruce Hobson, MD; Najam Mian, MD; Janice Muir, CNS; Neil Pearson, PT, MSC (RHBS), BA-BPHE, C-IAYT, ERYT500; Brenda Poulton, MN, RN, NP(A); Arun Radhakrishnan, MD; Lindsey Rite, BSc (Kin), DC, CSEP-CEP; Cameron Ross, MD; Susan Reid-Schellinck, BSc (OT); Pamela Squire, MD; Shirley Sze, MD; Davidicus Wong, MD.